Rahayu went through more heartache in her short life than any animal should have to endure. As the palm oil industry wiped out her forest habitat in Indonesia, the baby orangutan was found by an animal rescue organization abandoned and in failing health.
The workers noticed that the baby primate had been abandoned for a while because of her condition. Despite the local villagers saying she fell from a tree, the staff could tell she had been separated from her family for quite some time because her skin was not tough and dark like those orangutans that have lived in the forest.
Rahayu was diagnosed with cerebral malaria, a severe form of malaria that attacks the nervous system. As a result of the disease, Rahayu had no sight or blink reflex. The medical staff started on medication to help her condition. However, her life was still at risk.
Today Rahayu stands as an example of determination and strength. A staff member of the International Animal Rescue explained that the orangutan had made a miraculous recovery and was completely healed.
“She’s still in our center and now attending forest school where she’s learning all the skills she will need when she returns to the forest,” Lis Key, communications manager for IAR, told The Dodo.
Rahayu has completely regained her eyesight and is living life to the fullest. Her caretakers say she has developed a tough but sweet personality and always knows how to get what she wants.
“She is an independent orangutan,” Rahayu’s caretakers tell The Dodo. “When she wants to play, she will play with anyone. Sometimes she is too late to come when lunch is ready, and when that happens, she whines and pokes the keepers to ask for extra meals.”
Due to Rahayu’s progress, her keepers hope to eventually return her to the wild and they have no worries that the orangutan will adjust nicely to the forest.
“The cerebral malaria doesn’t seem to have left her with any permanent damage and certainly hasn’t affected her ability to climb and move around in the trees,” Key said. “I’m not sure that whining and poking the keepers will be of any help to her out in the wild but it does indicate that she’s a strong character who knows what she wants.”
For more information on how you can help animals like Rahayu, visit the International Animal Rescue’s official website.